Apr 24, 2023
2:00pm - 3:30pm    |    Wilf Conference Room 5th Floor, Wilf Hall
Nora Naji Scholar in Residence, Spring 2023
Nora is a political scientist and PhD Researcher at the Graduate School for Social Sciences at the University of Basel. In her research, she analyzes the securitization of peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance and gender through the agenda of ‘Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE)’ by looking at international aid and civil society organizations in Kenya and Somalia.
She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Geneva and a MA in Culture and Politics from Leiden University in the Netherlands. Prior to joining the Gender, War, and Security Research Group in Basel, she was a Junior Project Manager at swissnex San Francisco. She previously worked in the section for Human and Social Sciences at UNESCO in Paris and at a human rights organization in Amman. Currently, she is an affiliated researcher at swisspeace and the British Institute in Eastern Africa. Her research interests include peacebuilding and human rights in connection to human security, gender and decolonial feminism, as well as humanitarian innovation and design.
Commodifying peace: Intimate warfare and prevention economies in Kenya”.
Abstract:Building on the securitization premise, this dissertation sets out to situate the agenda of “Preventing and
Countering Violent Extremism” (P/CVE) in Kenya within a larger discussion of prevention economies, making a two fold argument which connects structural changes in the aid industry to the programmatic consequences for the aid recipients – or in the context of P/CVE – “at-risk” communities. On a structural level, prevention economies privilege a technocratization of peacebuilding that transforms the engagement of the civil society space. Encouraged through a donor market that favors security relevant programming in an age of funding scarcity, P/CVE therefore leads not only to a securitization but to a commodification of peace. On a programmatic level, the dissertation discusses P/CVE as a form of “intimate warfare” in the service of the liberal security state. While P/CVE has experienced a decrease in funding through COVID-19 in recent years, I argue that prevention economies sustain themselves by producing new offshoots that uphold security governance mechanisms in the realm of the “intimate” where ideas of care and self-help inherent to the idea of prevention further consolidate the liberal security state and generate docile citizens.

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